I set reading goals
Each year I take some time to set myself some reading goals. Usually I just try to focus on a certain number of books by the end of the year. However, last year a blogger/pod caster that I have followed for some time launched a Christian Reading Challenge and I dove right in. I will be honest, last year I did not do very well on the challenge. I blame it on all the textbooks I was having to read instead. I suppose I could have counted them but they were books I was being told to read not ones I had chosen on my own so I left them in a different reading category.
This year, with no homework assignments or reading quizzes, I jumped feet first into the reading challenge with everything I have. I have set myself a goal of reading 26 books by the end of the year. I have already completed 2 books and have 3 that I am in progress on so I think I might be doing alright at keeping this goal. The difference with this challenge is that I am reading books from various categories within Christian literature. Some are designed to strengthen my marriage, some for parenting advice and support, and some are Christian classics.
I use the spare moments
Now when I say this you are probably thinking, “What do you mean spare moments? Those don’t exist!” But the truth of the matter is they do. When I really began thinking about how I was going to find the time to get some more reading in I took an honest look at how I was spending my day. I realized that I spend a lot of time doing…well….nothing. Nothing productive at least. I spent time scrolling Facebook or Instagram, playing mindless games on my phone, or starting at one streaming service or another.
Over the course of the past month and a half I have tried to re-purpose those moments. When I catch myself scrolling Facebook and only seeing the same 10 posts I choose to put my phone down and pick up my book. When I am laying in my daughter’s bedroom waiting for her to go to sleep, instead of playing another round of Candy Crush I read some more in my book. In the evening, especially on Thursdays when I have a few hours of quite time all to myself, instead of starting the next show on Netflix I settle in on the couch with a cup of tea and the next chapter of my book.
And the other thing I do to sneak in a page or two is use waiting times like sitting in the car waiting for Dusty to finish running an errand, waiting at a doctor’s appointment, or any other time I might find myself just waiting.
I listen to Audiobooks
Ok, now I know what you are going to say here “Listening to audio books doesn’t count!” But I am here to say they do. I started listening to audio books when I was in middle school. I remember every summer when we would pack up our suburban to drive to Phoenix or San Antonio the whole family would get the chance to listen to a great book. Those were a lot of hours on the road and one of the best ways my parents found to curb the need to pick at each other, whine, cry, or fuss was to give us a great book we could all get lost in. I think we listened to all 7 of the Harry Potter series that way along with several others. And when we would stop for bathroom breaks, meals or just to stretch out our legs we all had something great to talk about because something special jumped out to each of us in different ways even though we were all hearing the same words.
Now, my kids love listening to audio stories for the same reason. And I find that I feel much more productive when I am listening to a book while I work than if I am listening to music or if I have the TV on in the background. The best part is that these days a lot of the books that I have found I wanted to listen to have been read by the author so I have the opportunity to hear the message as if I were there having a conversation with them. Tone, inflection, speed of the words all come across so clear that its easy to understand what was at the heart of the writing of the book.
I am willing to walk away from a book I’m just “not that into”
All throughout my educational career I have been forced to continue reading books that just didn’t “light my fire” because I had to turn in a report, mark a percentage read, or know the material for a test. It has been the least favorite part of school for me from the beginning, way back in elementary school. So now that I can read the things I want to read I am not against walking away from a book I haven’t finished yet. Why? Because I don’t have a lot of extra time so I’m not going to spend it on something that I’m not enjoying. I will be honest and say that I haven’t always felt this way. I used to believe that if I start a book, movie, tv show, or really anything else along that line I had to finish it. Not any more!
This means that sometimes I decide to walk away from a book. I came to conclusion that if the information I am reading is causing me more stress or if I am finding excuses to not read then it’s probably not worth my time. I move on to something else that is going to help me as I continue to grow, learn, and develop.
I have often heard that if something is important I will make the time for it. Well, for me, reading and the ability to continue to better myself is important so here are a few ways that I have found to make the time for it.
How do you make time for the things that are important to you?